It's not often that the Giants have to worry about the health of their starting quarterback Eli Manning. Since he took over as the leader of New York's offense midway through the 2004 season, Manning has started every one of the games that his team has played.
Back in 2007, Manning incurred a minor shoulder injury in a season-opening loss to Dallas, but he was healthy enough to play in Week 2 against Green Bay. Other than that, it's been a clean bill of health for the Giants' quarterback during his 10-year career.
That's why it's such a big deal that Manning had his left ankle scoped in the offseason. However, the NFL ironman is already back in action at the Giants' organized team activities this week. He's not at full strength just yet, but Manning's progress is encouraging considering that it is still May.
"Today is seven weeks (since the procedure), I felt good," he told reporters on Thursday. "Practiced the last two days doing everything so I'm excited to be back out there learning the offense and getting going."
With new offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo in place, it's a little more important this year for Manning to be working out with the rest of the Giants at OTAs. The team has a lot of new plays to learn, and it will be easier to get everyone on the same page with Manning at the helm.
"It's one thing to watch it from the sideline and think you know it spot-on," said Manning about McAdoo's offense. "But sometimes you've got to be right there at the line of scrimmage and have to make important calls and changes and checks and reads. I think it's very important for me to be out there and I wanted to be out there as soon as possible to get going for this offense."
We're still a ways off from training camp, but Manning's quick recovery from surgery has allowed him to begin to familiarize himself with the new system.
"I feel good about how these last couple days have gone," he said. "It's not perfect, there are things that need to be improved. I thought the last two days there have been some good plays. There have been some things where I felt in good rhythm with the offense and what we're trying to do."
Considering that just two days of OTAs are under Manning's belt, it's understandable that his execution within the offense is not yet refined. The Giants likely won't make real strides with the system until training camp kicks off in July. Manning has to take things slow with his ankle to make sure he is 100 percent by then.
"We'll continue to monitor it and be smart. I still have work to do and rehab to do to get things stronger but I'm excited to be back out there with the team."
It's been many a fortnight since the Giants have had to resort to a backup plan at quarterback, so fans, coaches, and players alike should be happy to see Manning engaging in football activities this spring.